Caerphilly Tigers met at a monsoon-like Virginia Park to head over the border to Somerset to play Burnham-on-Sea girls. The trip down was windy and shaky to say the least and some girls arrived looking a bit green! This was evident during the warm up but as time went on attitudes grew to near game quality.
The Tigers hit the ground running using the gale force wind at their backs. Captain and outside half, Bethan Fox-Mabe took advantage of good field position to score a try from a 5m scrum, fed by scrum half, Joanne Jones. Not long after this Joanne received a mighty tackle by the Burnahm prop and had to leave the field with a rib injury. Injuries also depleted the Tigers with Abi Pitman and Jodie Smith also having to leave the field of play. The Tigers management were grateful for Emma Turner (usually a flanker) to agree to move on out to the wing to cover the now vacant position. These injuries severly disrupted the Tigers and Burnham hit back with 2 tries, both scored through very weak Tigers tackling. With the score at 14-5 to the home side, things were not looking good. Some serious words were spoken after the second try and the Tigers hit back within 2 minutes. Loose ball in the home team 22 saw Bethan Fox-Mabe hack through and dive on the loose ball to score the try. As the half moved on the physical dominance of the Tigers pack showed and from a rolling maul, Emma Turner joined (perhaps thinking she was back on the flank) and drove over the line and came up with the ball to register her try. The conversion was missed and half time was whistled with the score at 15-14 to the Tigers.
The second half began positively for the Tigers. Good work by Amy Roberts in midfield set up a drive for second row, May Lewis. May cut through the 2 Burnham centres and was never going to be stopped, scoring her first try in only her second game. The Tigers made substitutions to give debuts to Bridget Lewis and Becky Clutterbuck. A mention must go to Aneeta Bhogal who produced a superb display as replacement fullback and grew in confidence in only her second game. Burnham did hit back and brought the score to within a point at 20-19 but this galvanised the Tigers. Following some good work by the Tigers forwards, prop Sara Prosser barged her way over the line to score. Sara hurt her back during the act of scoring and this prompted and ambulance being called and Sara being taken to Weston Super Mare A&E, escorted by Tigers coach Samantha Corns and Director of Rugby, James Chapron. The delay in play and the ambulance arriving prompted a pitch change and the remaining 13 minutes were played on the Burnham-on-Sea 2nd team pitch. The Tigers were constantly under the cosh throughout and gave away countless penalties but the line held firm and Tigers won the game 25-19 amid jubilant scenes and remain undefeated in Tigers history against English opposition. A touching moment came when the entire Tigers squad helped the stricken ambulance, with Sara Prosser inside, push it's way off the wet pitch after it became stuck in the mud.
After the game the hospitality supplied by Burnham-on Sean was exemplary. The rematch in the new year is very much aniticipated.
Tigers Head coach, Gareth Lewis, sumarised, ' We are not there yet but to get the win means a lot to the girls. We have the basis of a very good squad and now have the confidence of a win. This squad can only go from strength to strength. The buzz word has to be attitude. With the right attitude we can do great things. The hard work hasn't ended, it has just started. Tigers rugby can build massively from this point, although the singing on the bus on the way home left alot to be desired........'